Ethiopia/ Eritrea Border Dispute Presentation: Chief Directorate East Africa
Background to the border dispute • In 1998 war commenced between Ethiopia and Eritrea over the border, the town of Badme was a contentious issue. • More than 80 000 people died during the 3 year war. • The war ended in 2000 with the signing of the Algiers Agreement. • The Agreement made provision for the Ethiopia - Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC) to be established. • Both countries agreed to accept the Boundary Commission’s findings as “final and binding” • On 13 April 2002, the EEBC presented their findings and allotted Badme to Eritrea. • Ethiopia has called for the negotiations to be reopened whilst Eritrea wants to EEBC decision to be implemented without delay.
Ethiopia – Eritrea border impasse • The border impasse continues between Ethiopia and Eritrea • Situation of “no war, no peace”. • On 4 October 2005, Eritrea imposed a ban on UNMEE flights over Eritrean airspace. • On 23 November 2005, resolution passed allowing for sanctions to be implemented. • On 7 December 2005, Eritrea expelled all UN peacekeepers from the United States, the European Union, Russia and Canada. • UNMEE mandate extended to 30 September 2006 • In May 2006, the UNMEE’s was reduced to 2300 troops
Ethiopia – Eritrea Boundary Commission • The third round of talks scheduled for 15 June 2006, postponed till 24 August 2006. • Eritrea failed to attend because they believe the Boundary Commission’s decision should be bounding. • The 37th meeting of the Military Coordination Commission (MCC) was held on 30 July 2006, in Nairobi, Kenya. • The Officer-in-Charge of the UNMEE expressed hope for the speedy resolve of the impasse. • Both Ethiopia and Eritrea raised concern over the cut in UNMEE personnel. • Eritrea called for increased international involvement in resolving the impasse.
Recent developments • On 8 August 2006, Ethiopian Brigadier General Kemal Geltu, defected to Eritrea with 150 troops. • Ongoing defections with both Ethiopia and Eritrea sponsoring opposition movements in Asmara and Addis Ababa respectively. • Eritrea reintroduced travel restrictions on 1 June 2006, including diplomats. • Allegations that Eritrea has been supporting the Supreme Islamic Courts in Somalia • Ethiopia supporting the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia • Eritrea involves as peace broker between Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front Rebels
Brief Statistics • Population: 74,777,981 (2006) • GDP: US$ 9 Billion (2005) • GDP per Capita: US$116 • GDP growth rate: 8.9% (2005) • Inflation rate: 11.6% (2005) • Military expenditure: $295.9 million (2005) • Hunan Development Index: Ranked 170th (2003) • FDI: US$ 545.1 million (2004)
Brief Statistics (continued) • External Debt: US$ 5.101 billion (2005) • Main export partners: Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Italy, USA • Main import partners: Saudi Arabia, USA, UAE, India, Germany • Life Expectancy: 49 years (2006)
Geography • Area: 1,130,000 sq km • Borders: Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan • Natural resources: Small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower • Agricultural Products: Coffee, khat, leather, gold, oilseeds and flowers. • Industries: food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement
Ethiopia: Introduction • Capital: Addis Ababa • Head of State: President Woldergiorgis • Head of Government: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi • Form of State: Federal State • Official languages: Amharic, Oromiya, Tigrinya, Arabic • Membership: AU (secretariat in Addis Ababa), IGAD, Comesa
History and Background • Only African nation never colonised • Brief Italian occupation from 1936-1941. • Emperor Haile Selassie dominated Ethiopian society from 1916-1974. • The emperor was overthrown by the “Derg” regime, led by Mengistu Haile Miriam. • The “Derg” regime was toppled by Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front in 1991. • Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993
Recent Political Development • Last parliamentary elections held on 15 May 2005 • The Ogaden National Liberation Front, Oromo Liberation Front and the Sidama Liberation Front continue to seek autonomy from the Federation. • Border demarcation with Eritrea still outstanding. • Oppression of political parties is rife. • Ethiopian invasion of Somalia
Economy of Ethiopia • Unemployment rate: 25% to 30% • Major industries: chemicals, metal, cement, textiles, food processing. • Major Exports: coffee, gold, leather products, oilseeds • Major Imports: food, petroleum, machinery, motor vehicles.
Social Situation • HIV/Aids poses major health challenge. • The government has developed the National Response Strategic Framework to combat HIV/AIDS. • Food security remains a problem. • The recent floods during August 2006 resulted in at least 626 deaths across Ethiopia.
Bilateral Relations with South Africa • General Co-operation Agreement between Ethiopia and South was signed in March 2004. • Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) to be established in terms of Co-operation Agreement. • JMC senior officials meeting was held in Pretoria in May 2005. • Exports from SA to Ethiopia: R149, 797 million (2005) • Exports from Ethiopia to SA: R23, 370 million (2005) • Ethiopia not being full member of the World Trade Organisation poses a challenge to the finalisation of a trade agreement with South Africa
South African Companies in Ethiopia • Africon Ethiopia; • COMEZAR; • Plessey; • Bull Information Technology; • Global Technology (Pty) Ltd; • CSIR (Port Elizabeth); • South African Bottling Company (SABCO); • Ropack International; • Cortec (Pty) Ltd.
Way Forward • South Africa should continue to engage Ethiopia within the framework of the General Co-operation Agreement signed in 2004 • Launch of Joint Ministerial Commission planned for 2006 • Seek constructive ways of engaging the political leadership to normalise relations with Eritrea.
State of Eritrea Presentation: Chief Directorate East Africa
Brief Statistics • Population: 4,786,994 (2006) • Gross Domestic Product: US$ 924.6 million (2004) • GDP per capita: $900 (2005) • GDP growth rate: 2% (2005) • Inflation rate: 15% (2005) • Military Expenditure: US$ 220.1 million (2005) • Human Development Index: Ranked 161th (2003) • Foreign Direct Investment: US$ 30.0 million (2004)
Brief Statistics (continued) • External Debt: US$ 695 million • Main export partners: Sudan, Italy, Djibouti, Germany • Main import partners: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany • Imports from South Africa: R 25 547 000 (2005) • Exports to South Africa: R 485 000 (2005)
Geography • Area: 124 320 sq km • Borders: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan • Natural Resources: Oil, gas, fish and base metals • Agricultural Products: Wheat, barley, maize, millet, sorghum • Industries: Food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, salt, cement, commercial ship repair
Eritrea Introduction • Capital: Asmara • Head of State: Isaias Afewerki • Form of State: Unitary State • Currency: Nakfa • Member of following organisations: United Nations, African Union, IGAD, Cotonou Convention, COMESA and the League of Arab States. • The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice is the only legal political party operating in the country.
History and Background • 1998 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea commenced. • War ended in 2000 in which 70 000 people died. • Despite the signing of the Algiers Agreement and the border commission decision reached, the border impasse continues.
Economy of Eritrea • Exports: 64.5 million (2005) • Imports: 662 Million (2005) • Agriculture sector employs 80% population • Privatization and free market is encouraged • Heavily dependent on Foreign Aid. • GDP per sector Agriculture: 10.2% Industry: 25.4% Services: 64.3% (2005)
Social Situation • Eritrea has nine ethnic groups. • Tigrinya and Arabic most frequently used languages • No tensions between Christians and Muslims. • HIV/Aids prevalence is about 2.87%
Technological Situation • Internet access available in most parts of the country. • Railways and highways undergoing reconstruction. • Ports of Assab and Massawa operational. • Telephone system inadequate • Mobile cellular service available.
Bilateral Relations with South Africa • Diplomatic relations established in 1995 • Late Minister Nzo visited Eritrea in 1998 • South Africa opened an Embassy in Asmara in October 2004 • 9 SANDF Officers currently deployed in Eritrea/Ethiopia as part of UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). • More than 1600 Eritrean students studying at South African universities.
Way Forward • South Africa should continue to support diplomatic efforts by the UN, AU and EU aimed at to resolving the the border impasse. • Continue to explore business opportunities